The Government has collected almost €3bn more in taxes than it expected to, according to the latest Exchequer returns.

In November, tax receipts were €470m or 7.5% more than expected, mainly due to stronger Corporation Tax and VAT payments.

So far this year, the Government has collected just shy of €42bn in taxes - almost €3bn more than it expected to collect at the start of the year.

The reason is a surge in Corporation Tax, which accounts for two thirds of the extra tax revenue.

In all, Corporation Tax has brought in €6.3bn - €2.3bn more than expected.

VAT in November brought in €1.7bn - €178m or 11.5% more than forecast.

Spending at €35.2bn is on target, with the only significant over-spend in the Department of Health offset by under-spends elsewhere.

Interest on Government debt was 8% lower than forecast, a saving of €637m.

There was an Exchequer surplus at the end of November of €343m, compared with a deficit this time last year of €5.7bn.